To make the most of any networking meeting, here are a few guidelines to follow:
• Arrive early. If you are there before the mass of the group, you are assured the maximum opportunity to meet everyone.
• Arrive with a goal in mind. Before the meeting, set a goal for that day and achieve it. Don’t arrive at the meeting feeling lackadaisical or unfocused. Take some time to get yourself focused before the meeting.
• Make sure you have writing materials and plenty of business cards and/or brochures.
• Make sure you have a purse or briefcase to deposit the materials and business cards you accumulate.
• Make sure to shake hands when introduced, or when you introduce yourself.
• Don’t huddle up with co-workers or friends. It is easier to be approached by others if you don’t appear to be busy with idle conversation.
• Don’t be afraid to approach people you don’t know, and introduce yourself.
• Wear a name tag or business card.
• Don’t hard sell yourself or your company. Networking meetings are to be social.
• Do your best to remember names of individuals you have met.
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration